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COVID and remote working spurs regional migration

Posted on 6 July 2021

Source:  Ausralian Property Journal

AUSTRALIANS are still increasingly deciding to make the move to regional areas, as the COVID-19 accelerated trend sees a 7% increase.

According to a new report by Commonwealth Bank and Regional Australia Institute (RAI) the increase in movements from capital cities to regional areas between March of 2020 and 2021, supported an increase in net regional migration of 66% in the last quarter compared to the same period in 2020.

RAI-CBA Regional Movers Index, launched in the new report, revealed that coastal centres within close proximity of capital cities have reaped the greatest annual share of migration.

"This new Regional Movers Index will provide vital and timely data intelligence on emerging growth hotspots around the country, allowing government, industry and communities to act more quickly on issues such as housing and infrastructure," said Liz Ritchie, RAI CEO.

The Gold Coast came out as the winner with 11% of total migration, followed by the Sunshine Coast, at 6%, Greater Geelong with 4%, Wollongong with 3% and Newcastle with 2%.

Greater Geelong also saw a 10% increase in annual growth and 9% quarterly growth to March of this year.

Likewise, Wollongong and Newcastle saw respective annual growth increases of 8% and 7%.

"The Index demonstrates how Australians formerly living in capital cities have embraced remote ways of working as an opportunity to experience what these areas have to offer, while those already in regional areas are finding reasons to stay," said Grant Cairns, executive general manager for regional and agribusiness banking.

According to the inaugural index results, Noosa was the government area with the largest annual growth from capital city migration with 49%.

This was followed by Southern Downs with 44%, Port Macquarie-Hastings with 38%, Launceston with 34% and Fraser Coast with 26%.

"These figures show the strength and appeal of regional Australia and the important role it will continue to play in Australia's economic recovery," added Cairns.Having felt the harshest impacts of the global pandemic, NSW and Victoria saw the greatest net migration loss to regional areas, with 49.5% and 46.4% respectively.

Meanwhile, Regional NSW and Regional Queenslandand to a lesser extent regional Victoria, were the main recipients of Sydney-Melbourne migration.

"The index shows it's not just people in our major cities who are realising the opportunities and value provided by regional living. People already living in our regions are increasingly choosing to stay, rather than head for the bright city lights," concluded Ritchie.


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